Feeling: Like it’s go time.
The last few weeks of pregnancy are a total mind game. As the weeks until meeting the baby become fewer and fewer, you become increasingly less comfortable, exponentially more neurotic and while you certainly want the baby to cook as long as possible, all you want is to count those fingers and toes, and finally get a look at the human your body created.
Since I was 28 weeks, the goal has been to keep the baby in. I’ve been carefully taking what I call my anti-labor pills six times each day to prevent contractions that could send us into early labor. Now that I am 37 weeks, those meds have officially stopped. And I am analyzing my every move as a sign of pending labor. I cannot tell you the number of articles I have read on how to tell if labor is about to start.
The articles are worthless.
Since the baby is now considered full term by my doctor, I am enormous and sleep isn’t coming easy—so I spend a lot of time thinking about the labor and delivery process. The excitement of meeting baby outweighs all of my emotions, but as a first time mom-to-be, there are some aspects of actually bringing the child into the world that are weighing on my mind.
My biggest labor and delivery fears
Water breaking. Last week I thought my water might have broken, so we packed a bag and went into the hospital. Let me tell you, the good news about finding out that your water didn’t break and that you actually just peed yourself is that you can still make your afternoon meetings. The bad news is that false alarms suck, and so does adult incontinence (hey, don’t judge unless you’ve been there). But next time I am not calling the doctor until it’s freaking Niagara Falls. But your water breaking is not something you can miss, right? For some reason I am paranoid I am going to not know when this actually happening. #firsttimemomproblems
Contractions in early labor. Throughout the third trimester I have been a contraction machine. I know what they feel like, but they haven’t escalated too far beyond a 3-4 on the pain scale so far and I know that the pain of real labor is going to get a lot worse. But how much worse? What if my 7 is someone else’s 2? Ultimately, I am scared that I am going to be in tons of pain, having regular contractions, and they are going to tell me that I am not even in labor and send me home.
Dilation. Now, assuming the next time I think I’m in labor that I actually am in labor, I’m quite nervous about my cervix being uncooperative. Both of my sisters had emergency c-sections because they never progressed beyond a few centimeters, and their babies went into distress. I’ve read a lot of books about how finicky a cervix can be, which is why I would ultimately like to labor as much as possible at home in a calm and relaxed environment until the contractions get really serious. And once admitted into the hospital, I am going to try my hardest to move around until my cervix at least gets halfway there. That means no drugs at first because I really don’t want an epidural to slow down the process. Obviously, once I find out how much this hurts the plan could very well change—but I want to give myself time to progress if possible. I just hope my cervix cooperates.
Not getting in the zone. Because of what I have read about cervical progression, I feel like having a baby requires some serious concentration. I want the labor experience to be my sole focus, without too many distractions. My husband and I are so lucky to have almost all of our close family members within a 2 mile drive of the hospital. I keep having nightmares about me screaming in pain while everyone is in the room talking and laughing like it’s a social event. Now, I know that won’t be the case, but I am concerned about our boundaries going into this—which is uncharacteristic of me, and very characteristic of my husband. Maybe carrying his daughter is changing me.
Breastfeeding. Since I was in my early 20s, I have had a recurring dream that I was either pregnant or nursing a baby. Yes, that’s super weird, but I’ve always, always wanted to be a mother. And now that we are so close to parenthood, breastfeeding is something that is very important to me. One of my biggest fears is that I will not be able to produce enough milk for her. Of course, if I can’t I won’t force the issue, but right now it’s constantly in the back of my mind. I’m going to be thinking about that until the first successful latch.
Still, more than the impact of all of these fears, I am excited to bring a healthy, beautiful baby into the world. I am far from a patient person, so the next few days or weeks are going to be excruciating to me. My husband and I are passing the time by dreaming about our first date post baby, brainstorming baby names (don’t have one yet) and decorating the nursery. I’m counting our lucky stars that we’ve made it this far. But now, let’s get this show on the road so we can meet our girl!